Every garden has them – pests. And they come in all shapes and sizes. From small and slimy slugs to hungry four-legged Bambis and everything in between. While you can find an endless array of chemical deterrents on the market, that’s not always the way home gardeners want to go. Thankfully there are other methods to keep pests at bay – and the best part is that once they’re installed, you can set ’em and forget ’em.

ScareCrow®

Motion-activated animal deterrents like the ScareCrow® can keep your garden free from critters as small as squirrels to ones as large as deer.

Photo Credit: Contech Inc.

SlugsAway®

Small “electrified” fencing can keep slugs out of flower beds.

Photo Credit: Contech Inc.

CatStop™

CatStop™ reportedly scares off felines with sharp sounds that only they can hear.

Photo Credit: Contech Inc.

One easy way to get unwanted furry visitors to leave your garden is to frighten them away, and the ScareCrow® might be able to help. This motion-activated pest deterrent is designed to sense any-size animal on the ground, from deer to squirrels. Once detected, it uses a short burst of water to keep the approaching critters away. The product attaches to a regular garden hose and is pretty water wise – each spray only uses about 2-3 cups-worth of water.

One ScareCrow can cover about 1,200 square feet (45 feet wide and as far as 33 feet out), and more than one can be connected in a series to cover more space. Hook your ScareCrow up and turn it on, and it’ll work 24 hours a day for up to 4 months on one battery, the manufacturer says. (Just don’t forget to turn it off when your family or pets are out in the yard, or they might get soaked!)

If you’ve got a problem with cats (kitties digging in your garden, using the kids’ sandbox as a litter box, ripping apart your catmint, spraying your yard, etc.), then you might consider a product like CatStop™. This automatic deterrent detects movement of nearby animals and emits an ultrasonic burst of sound that only feline foes can supposedly hear. (It reportedly doesn’t affect other animals like dogs because the frequency is set at a level they can’t hear.) The sound covers about 280 square feet, and the deterrent is said to last about 6 months in the yard on one battery.

Other motion-activated products that might be helpful in dissuading unwanted animals (humans excluded) from entering your garden include the Electronic Yard Repeller Pro or Animal Away. These units use ultrasonic and sonic waves (some versions also use strobe lights) to keep gardens safe from all kinds of four-legged pests, including, dogs, cats, deer, opossums, rabbits, armadillos, skunks…and the list goes on. Products vary – some are cordless, while others can be plugged in if needed – but all are harmless and environmentally safe ways to keep many unwanted creatures out of your yard.

Of course, there are even smaller pests out there that are terribly unwelcome in gardens. While bees, butterflies and even spiders are invited to take up residence in the back yard, there are plenty of other creatures we’d like to hang the “no vacancy” sign for. Take slugs and snails for example. Sure, gardeners have lots of weapons in their earth-friendly arsenal to protect their plants (like using beer bait traps, diatomaceous earth, copper tape and handpicking), but they’re not always that friendly to the offending pests and can be labor-intensive.

So another option is to fence off your gardens with a product like SlugsAway®. This short, mesh fence is “electrified” with just enough current to deter slugs (not zap them), and it’s said to be completely safe for pets, children – even the slugs. This particular product covers 32 feet, and extension fencing is available. It reportedly runs all season on a single 9-volt battery.

While one of the wonderful aspects of gardening is that it’s an overall low-tech, back-to-basics pastime, it’s technology that’s lending a hand in protecting all our hard, rewarding work. Not only are these electronic animal deterrents environmentally safe, they keep us from having to spray (and re-spray) chemicals throughout the seasons. Even better, these tools can be used year after year – a good feature in an effective deterrent, because if Bambi has anything, it’s a lot of wildlife friends…